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Italian officials warn of violent extremist protests during Torino Games

Italian officials warn of violent extremist protests during Torino Games{mosimage}ROME (AP) — Anarchists and other political extremists may stage violent protests during the Turin Games, interrupting Olympic events or carrying out other “sensational actions,” a top parliamentary security official said Thursday.

Enzo Bianco said that authorities hadn’t received “evidence of specific terrorist initiatives,” but warned that the Olympics offer the perfect stage for violent protests.

“The anarchists see in the Olympics an important media sound-box and could carry out initiatives that are dangerous for public order and security,” Bianco told the news agency ANSA. He heads parliament’s secret services oversight commission and his office confirmed his statement.

Bianco made the remarks after a briefing with Turin prosecutor Maurizio Laudi.

Members of the commission were told by Laudi that police forces in the northern Italian city were working “to prevent possible threats that may come from Islamic terrorism, from anarchists or radicals,” Bianco said.

Earlier this week, environmental groups staged peaceful protests against construction of a high-speed railroad line to France near some Olympic venues.

Violence from homegrown anarchists and anti-globalization protesters is often a concern at major events in Italy. Violent demonstrations at a G-8 summit in Genoa in 2001 led to the death of a protester, shot by a police officer as he was hurling a fire extinguisher at a Carabinieri jeep.

The Turin Olympics will run from Feb. 10-26.

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